|The Handbook to the Flora of Ceylon, by Henry Trimen, published in 1893-1900, was in its time, one of the most comprehensive and outstanding floras available for any comparable tropical area. In 1931 A.H.G. Alston added a volume of additions, updating, and corrections to the original five volumes. These six volumes for many years served their purposes very well.
Professor B.A. Abeywickrama, of University of Ceylon at Peradeniya produced an updated Checklist of the Ceylon Flora in 1959. The revision of Trimen's Flora was started in February 1968 under the joint auspices of the Smithsonian Institution, the Sri Lanka Department of Agriculture and the University of Ceylon, at Peradeniya with Dr. F.R. Fosberg as principal investigator. Nine volumes were published under the editorship of Prof. M.D. Dassanayake of the University of Peradeniya and Dr. F.R. Fosberg of the Smithsonian Institution.
In 1990 the British Overseas Development Administration undertook to complete the revision by funding collaboration between Royal Botanic gardens, Peradeniya and Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew Prof. M.D. Dassanayake and Dr. W.D. Clayton edited those volumes (Vol. 10-14). allowing a gradual withdrawal of the Smithsonian contribution.
The plan has been to enlist the cooperation of botanists, from wherever available who are preferably experts in particular families represented in the flora of Sri Lanka.
The materials on which the flora revisions are based are the visiting botanists' own collections, the National Herbarium at Peradeniya, personal collections of Mr. K.L.D. Amaratunga and the late Mr. Thomas B. Worthington of Kandy, the materials housed in various foreign herbaria, especially those of Kew, British Museum, and the Indian National Herbarium, Calcutta. A large amount of valuable material was amassed as vouchers for the ecological observations and has been utilized by the flora project botanists.
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